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comme s'ils mettaient dans la lumière ce qui ne supportait que la nuit

English translation: as though (they were) dragging things into the light which could only tolerate darkness

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
French term or phrase:comme s'ils mettaient dans la lumière ce qui ne supportait que la nuit
English translation:as though (they were) dragging things into the light which could only tolerate darkness
Entered by: laurawheeler
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15:53 Dec 10, 2003
French to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary
French term or phrase: comme s'ils mettaient dans la lumière ce qui ne supportait que la nuit
Il y avait quelque chose de gênant dans ces mots comme si...

talking about when his father was rather awkwardly discussing religion
laurawheeler
France
Local time: 11:21
as though (they were) dragging things into the light which could only tolerate darkness
Explanation:
Partly inspired by some earlier efforts.

The original text has a bit of a literary ring to it, which I have tried to reproduce. I am aware of the potential syntactic ambiguity, but I don't think it really detracts much.



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Note added at 2003-12-10 16:49:26 (GMT)
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To avoid the syntactic ambiguity, one could go for \"dragging into the light things which could only tolerate darkness\". I don\'t like this as much.

One could also stick with the almost literal:
\"as though (they were) dragging into the light that which can only tolerate darkness\".
There is nothing wrong with being literal (despite a certain obsessive phobia it evokes in unintellectual and anti-intellectual FR>EN translators) where it works. This is particularly so in the case of literary texts...of which our present object of interest is surely an example.



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Note added at 2003-12-10 17:00:32 (GMT)
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I have just taken a closer look at the question, and it appears that we have the two halves of a single sentence, but in the wrong order.

\"Il y avait quelque chose de gênant dans ces mots comme s\'ils mettaient dans la lumière ce qui ne supportait que la nuit.\"

So I whall attempt a translation of the whole sentence:
\"There was something embarrassing about these words, as though they brought/dragged into the light that which could only tolerate/stand darkness.\" Of course, other variations, as above, are possible.

I have changed from continuous to simple past because it makes more sense. Previously, I had thought \"ils\" referred to the father and son, but this now seems unlikely, assuming the original sentence is as I have reconstructed it.



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Note added at 2003-12-10 17:08:42 (GMT)
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Oops! In response to Rita\'s comment, that should be \"expect something\". @#$% sexydial, uh, lsdexiyal, I mean lysdexia....

I am honorary president of the DNA: the National Dyslexics\' Association.

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Note added at 2003-12-10 17:20:52 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

(Or instead of \"that which\", \"something which\".)
Selected response from:

Richard Benham
France
Local time: 11:21
Grading comment
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5 +2as though they were shedding light on things meant to remain in obscurityJean Harper
4 +2as though (they were) dragging things into the light which could only tolerate darkness
Richard Benham
3 +3as if they were bringing into light things that should remaintoubabou
5 +1as if they were flinging something into daylight which could only bear darknessJane Lamb-Ruiz
4 +1as if they were casting light on things that were better off in the dark
Jean-Luc Dumont
4 +1as though forcing a cave-dweller out into the sunshine
William Stein
4as if they were pouring some light over something born for the dark
irat56
3 +1as if he were highlighting points which were better left in the darkRHELLER
2as if they were bringing a bat into blazing sunshine.jbc


  

Answers


2 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
comme s'ils mettaient dans la lumière ce qui ne supportait que la nuit
as if he were highlighting points which were better left in the dark


Explanation:
-

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 4 mins (2003-12-10 15:58:00 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

or
underlined ideas which should have remained in the background

illuminated views which thrived in darkness

RHELLER
United States
Local time: 03:21
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 1582

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Richard Benham: (a) "**they** were", surely! (b) Is it necessary to replace a metaphor which works fine in English with a vaguer and less effective metaphor?
48 mins
  -> you have a right to your opinion Richard :-)

agree  NancyLynn: your verb tense is correct
54 mins
  -> thank you Nancy!
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4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
as if they were flinging something into daylight which could only bear darkness


Explanation:
flinging into or thrusting into

is better IMO than bringing into

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Note added at 2003-12-10 16:22:19 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

missed a word:


FINAL: as if they were flinging into daylight something which could only bear darkness OR the dark

Jane Lamb-Ruiz
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in PortuguesePortuguese
PRO pts in pair: 8576

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Laurel Porter: excellent - I prefer "thrusting"; perhaps "...thrusting into daylight that which could only..." More poetic construction, but seems to fit poetic image.
51 mins
  -> not that which ...ce qui something..less awkward
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5 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +3
comme s'ils mettaient dans la lumière ce qui ne supportait que la nuit
as if they were bringing into light things that should remain


Explanation:
in the dark (unspoken for)

toubabou
Local time: 05:21
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in pair: 187

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  NancyLynn
51 mins
  -> merci Nancy

agree  Corella Nijsse
4 hrs

agree  lien: should have remained
7 hrs
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5 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
comme s'ils mettaient dans la lumière ce qui ne supportait que la nuit
as though forcing a cave-dweller out into the sunshine


Explanation:
or
forcing a noctural creature out into the light of day

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 6 mins (2003-12-10 16:00:18 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

sorry: nocturNal

William Stein
Costa Rica
Local time: 04:21
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 1737

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Vicky Papaprodromou
5 mins
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7 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
comme s'ils mettaient dans la lumière ce qui ne supportait que la nuit
as if they were pouring some light over something born for the dark


Explanation:
Just a suggestion

irat56
France
Local time: 11:21
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in pair: 380
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30 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
as though (they were) dragging things into the light which could only tolerate darkness


Explanation:
Partly inspired by some earlier efforts.

The original text has a bit of a literary ring to it, which I have tried to reproduce. I am aware of the potential syntactic ambiguity, but I don't think it really detracts much.



--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2003-12-10 16:49:26 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

To avoid the syntactic ambiguity, one could go for \"dragging into the light things which could only tolerate darkness\". I don\'t like this as much.

One could also stick with the almost literal:
\"as though (they were) dragging into the light that which can only tolerate darkness\".
There is nothing wrong with being literal (despite a certain obsessive phobia it evokes in unintellectual and anti-intellectual FR>EN translators) where it works. This is particularly so in the case of literary texts...of which our present object of interest is surely an example.



--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2003-12-10 17:00:32 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I have just taken a closer look at the question, and it appears that we have the two halves of a single sentence, but in the wrong order.

\"Il y avait quelque chose de gênant dans ces mots comme s\'ils mettaient dans la lumière ce qui ne supportait que la nuit.\"

So I whall attempt a translation of the whole sentence:
\"There was something embarrassing about these words, as though they brought/dragged into the light that which could only tolerate/stand darkness.\" Of course, other variations, as above, are possible.

I have changed from continuous to simple past because it makes more sense. Previously, I had thought \"ils\" referred to the father and son, but this now seems unlikely, assuming the original sentence is as I have reconstructed it.



--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2003-12-10 17:08:42 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Oops! In response to Rita\'s comment, that should be \"expect something\". @#$% sexydial, uh, lsdexiyal, I mean lysdexia....

I am honorary president of the DNA: the National Dyslexics\' Association.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2003-12-10 17:20:52 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

(Or instead of \"that which\", \"something which\".)

Richard Benham
France
Local time: 11:21
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 614

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Laurel Porter: I really like "tolerate" here
26 mins
  -> Thanks.

neutral  RHELLER: dragging? how did you come up with that one?
28 mins
  -> It works. "Putting" doesn't. You would expecting something which couldn't stand light to resist, and so need to be dragged.

agree  xxxsarahl: great rendition. Do you think they're talking about vampires here?
49 mins
  -> Thanks. My original thought was slaters.... Certainly not bats.

neutral  Jane Lamb-Ruiz: I agree with most of what you say but it's not things it's something...let's be faithful to the text where possible; also dragging..prefer something more sudden
1 hr
  -> I offered "something" as an alternative. I find "dragging" works better than "flinging" or "thrusting". De gustibus non disputandum.
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35 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5
as if they were bringing a bat into blazing sunshine.


Explanation:
- may be more vivid than required, but since a bat normally prefers darkness or low light levels, it seemed appropriate.

jbc
Local time: 10:21
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 24

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Richard Benham: The original has a dry, abstract quality, which may be good or bad writing but which ought to be retained.
21 mins

neutral  Laurel Porter: batter up... this metaphor seems forced; despite the obvious dark/light context, I thought of baseball first. ;-)
22 mins
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +2
as though they were shedding light on things meant to remain in obscurity


Explanation:
I think "obscurity" is a good alternative to the more literal "darkness".

Jean Harper
Local time: 10:21
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Jean-Luc Dumont
19 mins

agree  sktrans
7 hrs
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
comme s'ils mettaient dans la lumière ce qui ne supportait que la nuit
as if they were casting light on things that were better off in the dark


Explanation:
as if they were casting light on things that
fared better in the dark

as if they were exposing to the light of day things that fared better in the obscurity

like the darkness inside churches

Jean-Luc Dumont
France
Local time: 11:21
Native speaker of: French
PRO pts in pair: 1108

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  RHELLER: I like "casting light on"
1 hr
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